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Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by pshootr, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. pshootr

    pshootr New Member

    I'm used to keeping colubrids, which will all except the same feeding format. I am interested in ball pythons now, but I am noticing that some like mice and some like rats. Also some prefer live.
    It seems like this would complicate matters where it concerns feeding.

    For convenience I like to have a supply of Frozen rodents. I was just wondering how you guys go about managing a collection, which requires so many variables when it comes to feeding?
  2. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    I have quite a full spectrum of likes and dislikes, sometimes with the same ball haha. She occasionally has her moments where dark feeders are her thing (she gets fed rats because mice are too small for her) and then she goes into a preference for white rats. There was a year where I had to revert to african soft fur too....she's a mixed up lady haha, I don't know what else to say. You just cater to what your snake wants at that time I guess....that's what I do. Fortunately I have a few others I can offer her meal to if she turns it down, which has happened.

    But in the end, if my crazy ball python goes on a picky phase of refusing meals, I don't stress over it. She just misses a meal and I try again next feeding time. If they are in good health, its not a detriment to let them go hungry once in a while, also most captive reptiles are a bit on the too well fed side. Tough love so to speak
    pshootr likes this.
  3. pshootr

    pshootr New Member

    That's funny about your mixed up lady there LOL
    I understand that going off of feed at times is normal for them. I guess as long as I have mice and rats in the rack then I should be fine because I will always have a live Supply. In the beginning I just pictured this being different. I thought I produce and then euthanize with CO2 so I could freeze them. But now I realize that I will be throwing away a lot of rats when they are going off of feed or being fussy. so in that respect live feeding, or freshly killed is a better option for ball pythons in that respect. The thing is you might not always have enough of the sizes you need. So it would also be nice to have some in the freezer for those who will accept it.
  4. Lori68

    Lori68 Established Member

    I don't breed rodents but I have more than one snake, so feeders are never wasted. That is one thing I have over you with just one I see your conundrum. Again, I have let her go hungry at times when she refused food just because she was being extra picky. That isn't a bad thing to do since I'm sure wild ones go a really long time without food because they have to, not because they just don't want to. If you don't have any breeding plans....she can go hungry if the one particular f/t feeder you offered wasn't what she had in mind. That's my thoughts on it at least
    pshootr likes this.
  5. pshootr

    pshootr New Member

    I am planning on doing some breeding with a moderate sized collection. So as far as using Frozen feeders, my concern was thawing out a dozen rats and then having several snakes refuse. If this were to happen repeatedly while they were fasting, that could be quite wasteful. I suppose you could thaw out a few at a time and offer your pickiest eaters first, and if they refuse, then feed them to the reliable feeders. And then if necessary thaw out some more.
    But I do plan on breeding rats and likely mice for those individuals who prefer mice. At least until I can get them switchd to rats. I imagine I will keep a supply of Frozen and use them where I can, and also have a supply of rodents for the individuals who prefer live. then whenever I don't have the stock I need I will simply have to use A supplier at those times.

    Thank you for your feedback
    Lori68 likes this.
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Some tips for feeding balls:
    1. Have more than one feeding day. That way you thaw less at a time and can use any refused prey the next day on one of the snakes that wasn't fed.
    2. Always thaw less than you need. Whoever gets shorted just gets fed first the next week. Not going to hurt a ball at all to miss a week.
    3. Don't be afraid to refrigerate or refreeze. Rodents can be refrozen once, and I have had no issues keeping them in deep refrigeration for a week or even a little more, but you have to have a near freezing fridge to get away with that.
    4. Keep a garbage truck species. Not always practical for some people, but having an animal around that will always take anything offered can be handy. For me it is my boas, and eventually my Nile monitor. The boas are on a much longer feeding schedule so an early meal won't hurt, and they tend to be always hungry. And monitors are a daily feed schedule anyway so an extra rodent can be worked in very easily, though I would never suggest one for this use alone since they are a ton of work by comparison.
    5. Breed your own rodents (your already planning this, and it's what I currently still do). Very easy if feeding live, any refusals go back in the rack/holding bin. Downside is all the bad possibilities that go with live feeding. And even though I feed live myself, I do not ever recommend it as a first choice.
    And a few general points. If you don't have a scale, get one. Tracking weight is one of the easiest ways to monitor health. A ball that won't eat but isn't losing weight is fairly normal. A random refusal is no cause for concern. The snake may be about to shed, might be not hungry, might just be because it's Tuesday (just kidding, lol). Point is, don't get excited or worried. My personnel record is 8 months, and I know people who've had balls go well over a year without eating.
    pshootr likes this.
  7. pshootr

    pshootr New Member

    That is an interesting idea to have more than one feeding day.

    And it is nice to know that the rodents can be refrozen one time. As well, refrigerating refused rodents is another great idea I had not really thought of to be honest.

    Another good point, is the garbage truck species as you put it. I will likely have another species or two, such as a pair of bull snakes or maybe rainbow boas.

    So working all of this into my routine should be a great help. Thank you very much for your very informative reply!

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